The rosters for the McDonald’s All American game were released yesterday and they had a decidedly Kentucky Wildcats feel to it. The West squad could almost be a preview of the 2013-2014 Kentucky starting lineup as Andrew and Aaron Harrison, Marcus Lee, and James Young were named. Dakari Johnson was named to the East squad. The five commits for Kentucky in the game is a record but that number could increase by the April 3rd game.
Andrew Wiggins is on the East squad and he has said that he will probably announce in April. Despite a lack of buzz lately, Wiggins still has Kentucky in his list of four schools and will visit Lexington on February 27. He also will visit Kansas on March 4 and UNC on March the 9. He has already paid a visit to FSU. Aaron Gordon is on the West roster and is also undecided. HE is also still considering Kentucky and probably an April or May decision.
The Nerlens Noel injury is still sending shock waves through the Bluegrass as well as all of college basketball. And it has made the NBA age limit debate prevalent once again. And although the age limit is very unlikely to be changed, the debate rages on. You can bet that the top high school players like Julius Randle and D=Kentucky commit Dakari Johnson have their opinion on the age limit rule:
Noel’s injury got Randle and other elite players thinking about the fairness of the NBA’s age-limit rule, which says that players must be 19 years old and at least one year removed from high school before entering the NBA.
“I think you should be able to go ahead and go if you’re ready,” said Randle, a preseason American Family Insurance ALL-USA selection who is ranked No. 2 in the Rivals150.
Noel’s injury hit close to home for Randle, who has been out since November with a fractured foot. Montverde (Fla.) center Dakari Johnson had a similarly scary knee injury last summer that kept him sidelined for three months.
“I think, you know, if you have a chance to go, then why not?” Johnson told the The Courier-Journal. “Why hold a kid back if he has an opportunity to realize his dream and help his family out? Why not just let him go?”
For Randle, the bottom line is simple.
“When you’re ready,” he said, “you’re ready.”
As fate would have it, the age limit rule was just one of the things we talked to Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News about yesterday. Mike was more than gracious enough to appear on our podcast and we also discussed the Nerlens Noel injury and the future of Kentucky’s season. Mike is one of the good guys when it comes to covering national basketball, so check out the podcast here.
No one doubt the fact that Nerlens Noel was the heart and soul of this Kentucky team and without him, the Cats need to find a new identity. Ken Howlett from A Sea of Blue says that the way to do that is to honor Noel and play like him:
It’s time for the Kentucky Wildcat basketball team to rally ’round its leader, and honor him by doing what this team has yet to do.
It’s time for each UK player and coach to honor Noel for what it is he means to this Wildcat basketball squad. And I’m not referring to Noel’s points per game, his blocks, his rebounds, his assists, or steals. I’m referring to the fact that Nerlen’s has been the heart, soul, and hustle of this basketball team since Day 1. Since Midnight Madness, since the Blue/White game, Nerlens has been the first ‘Cat on the floor fighting for a loose ball. Noel has been the first to sprint down the court to defend his basket. Nerlens has been the first to lead, not always with his mouth, but persistently with his actions.
Noel’s example of 100 percent effort, never more exemplified than by the play he was injured on as he raced down the court to (successfully) defend the Wildcat rim after a UK turnover, simply demands that he be honored by his teammates and ‘Cat fans everywhere.